At VMware Partner Exchange 2014 on Wednesday, a new alliance was formed that aims to modernize corporate desktops for the mobile cloud era. VMware is joining forces with Google to provide businesses with secure cloud access to Windows applications, data and desktops on Google Chromebooks.

The expanded relationship between Google and VMware aims to help enterprise customers drive greater security and lower total cost of ownership of Google Chromebooks. It also promises cloud access to current and legacy applications, delivered on VMware's Desktop as a Service (DaaS) platform.

"Google Chromebooks can save businesses about $5,000 per computer when compared to traditional PCs," said Amit Singh, president of Google Enterprise. "Chromebooks are designed for the way people use computers today and are a secure, easy and cost-effective solution to help organizations embrace a new way of doing business. Through our partnership with VMware, businesses can now capitalize on these advantages with access to legacy applications, data and desktops they need to keep employees productive."

VMware's Mission

Recent forecasts from industry research firm Gartner Group predict PC shipments will decline 15 percent this year from 2012 levels, while ultramobile devices -- especially small and light laptops, like Chromebooks -- are forecast to increase nearly 407 percent in the same time period.

Wednesday's announcement means service providers, systems integrators, resellers and channel partners looking to take advantage of the growing demand for ultramobile devices can now tap into an enterprise-ready solution to offer their customers.

"VMware's End-User Computing mission is to radically simplify IT and enable customers to run any application, anywhere, any place, and any time, so they can work at the speed of life," said Sanjay Poonen, executive vice president and general manager of End-User Computing at VMware. "VMware DaaS and desktop virtualization will enable Windows-based applications and desktops to run on Google Chromebooks, delivering on the promise of the mobile-cloud era without compromise."

A Solution for a Problem

Initially available to customers as an on-premise service, Google and VMware expect to deliver the joint solution as a fully managed, subscription DaaS offering by VMware and other vCloud Service Provider Partners, in the cloud or within hybrid deployments.

Users will be able to access their Windows applications, data and desktops using VMware's Blast HTML5 technology from a Web-based application catalog on their Chromebook. VMware Horizon DaaS will also provide enterprises with a choice between a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure or Remote Desktop Services connection.

We caught up with Zeus Kerravala, a principal analyst at ZK Research, to get his take on the partnership. He told us it was a good move for both companies.

"Google's had the Chromebook out for a while now, but a lot of people look at it as a solution with no problem," Kerravala said. "As more and more workloads get pushed out to the cloud, it becomes a virtual platform and you need something local to support that. This new era of mobile computing requires a different type of device. The partnership with VMware can greatly simplify the way IT desktop management is done."